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Helping children (and others) be more responsible

August 31, 2017

One of the most important questions that parents of children ask is, "How do I help my child become more responsible?"

And when asked the reason they want their child to become more responsible, the most common response is, "Well, s/he seems to be more interested in playing, being with friends, watching TV, and doing everything other than what they really need to be doing."

 

The simplest way to help a child, or for that matter anyone, become more responsible is to help them become responsible! Seems confusing? Well, let me explain a little.

 

Make a simple format (like in the picture below) and share it with them. And help them fill in to this "Time log" what they were doing as best as possible. Some tips on this:

  • "Inspire" the person to fill up the time log (Tip - making them feel guilty, talking down to them, shaming them, are NOT useful!)

  • Just remind them that they have to fill up their time log.

  • If they are comfortable, request them to place this log in a place where it is visible - like on the refrigerator or some other common location.

  • Desist from referring to the data that is filled in EVEN if it validates what you might have been telling them all along. Remember, it is not about you, or you being right! It is about them, and their taking responsibility.

  • Inquire if they are willing to share what they have learnt from this exercise of maintaining the time log - on a weekly basis.

More often than not, just this simple exercise maintaining the time log helps them become aware of what they are doing with the time they have available. And this more often than not, inspires them to become more responsible, and focused.

 

And yes, remember that it is the duty of all parents to help their children feel safe to speak the truth. Children do not lie on their own, and learn from their elders, and the responses of their elders to their speaking the truth! 

 



 

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